David has some interesting ideas and views about the happenings regarding computers and the internet.
How to Protect Your Personal Information Online
The best way to protect your personal information online is to create an online identity. The reason why you want to make an online identity is to to keep your real life private from your online life. Some people like to keep those lives separate. I play video games a lot, and mostly online. Do I want someone tracking me down by giving out any shred of my real life information? I think not. So, I created my own online identity to provide that privacy. While it may not be perfect, it has helped me feel secure and safe from what others may do to me. This article will cover how to make and use an online identity effectively.
Warning Regarding Online Identities
This article is not to be used for illegal or immoral purposes. This is allow people to enjoy the things they enjoy without having others encroach on their personal lives. You will be caught if you are doing something illegal!
10 Tips on Making an Online Identity
There are various steps you have to go through to make an online identity that is separate from your real life person. While you don't have to do all of these or do them in any order, doing as many as possible will ensure your anonymity.
- Make an e-mail address for this identity. You can use one that your own internet provider makes for you, but it may be best to use one from Google, Yahoo, etc. This will ensure no one can track down who you are based on your e-mail.
- Think of a name for this identity. Don't use what could be considered a real life name. Think of it as a nickname, and you can name yourself whatever you want. If you are into games, make it a gaming name. If you are into sci-fi, make it a sci-fi name. Just don't chose a name with a lot of numbers, "l33t" talk, and so on. You don't want to come off as annoying.
- Think of how you will talk online. This may seem silly, but it's very important. Will you type in all caps? Will you use tilde's (~) a lot? Will you use emoticons after each sentence? This sets up how your identity will talk online, and how those you meet online will recognize you.
- Use pictures, but none you took directly. If you use your own pictures from a cell phone, for example, they can be tracked back to you by location. Free pictures can be found online, or you can draw or design one of your own. Plus many websites have default pictures you can choose from for a profile.
- Don't share personal pictures of yourself or go on cam. People can record anything you do online. Video is one way to do that. Even if you are just in a friendly video chat, someone could be recording the entire time.
- Determine what methods will you use to communicate. Will you instant message other people, create your own Facebook, or talk on forums? Determining this will allow you to set up your identity by each application. As you progress, you can slowly add more websites, programs, etc. as you learn what your online identity is all about.
- Don't reveal your personal information. Your name, where you live, etc. None of those should ever come up. You would probably be okay with stating what region you are living in, or approximate age. But with the internet, you can't trust anyone, which leads to my next point.
- Don't trust anyone. The part of having an online identity is so that no one knows who you are. If you start revealing details, others could find out and harass you for what you are, who you are, what religion you are, anything.
- Keep your real life away from your online identity. Don't have e-mails sent to your cell phone, don't check websites while at work, and so on. Even if they are completely innocent, you want to keep your hobbies and personal life away from your work or real life. If co-workers, for example, find out your online identity, that would expose your personal life in a way you may not be comfortable with.
- Create multiple identities. You can use one for video games, another for a forum, etc. This will allow you to keep everything separated and further protect you from being identified.
Why do you Need an Online Identity?
Reasons Why to Create an Online Identity
There are various reasons why you may want to consider creating an online identity, such as:
- Video Games. Everyone of all ages play video games. Almost everyone uses a nickname for the games they play online. There have been cases that people track down those they meet online to confront them about something in a video game. Having an online identity will help prevent that.
- Hobbies. You could be a doctor who is into wrestling. Or a body building into geeky stuff. Reasons like that are good for wanting to create your own online identity, so you can enjoy it outside of your real life.
- Chatting. If you wish to talk online, you want to do so safely. There are a lot of bad people out there who will take advantage of you. Some will prod you wanting to know who you really are, but all you wish to do is socialize and meet new people. Having an online identity will protect who you really are.
- Blogging. People love to blog now, but sometimes they don't want their family, work, or anyone else to know who they are. Creating an online identity for blogging is a great idea to separate yourself from your real life.
- To protect yourself. Having an online identity will protect you from the majority of those on the internet. The more you protect your personal information, the more protected you will be.
- Allows you more freedom. You can be the person you want to be like online. You can say mostly what you want to say, socialize with others who enjoy the same things you do, etc.
Anonymity on the Internet
How to Protect Yourself from People Online
Obviously millions of people out there have online identities, just like you will. Some choose to have them for bad or illegal purposes. So here are some tips to weed out those that you don't want to interact with:
- Avoid illegal websites. Obviously you should know right from wrong. So avoid the bad websites and people out there. Even if you create an online identity, you can still be found many different ways. The online identity is just to protect you from those who would prey on you.
- Ignore annoying people. Ignore those who want to know more about you, where you live, what you do, and so on. Those people are just prying for information. I'm not saying everyone shouldn't be trusted, but don't trust right away.
- Research before you join something. If it's a game, website, forum, etc., do your research before you join. Ensure the community is nice and easy going to be around. Not everyone is perfect, but it could help weed out or prepare for any problems.
- Don't stand out right away. You shouldn't try to be the center of attention right away. Whereas, if you see someone trying too hard to be the center of attention, you may want to avoid them as they could be trouble.
- Watch how someone talks. If they use a lot of slang, improper grammar, or poor spelling, you may want to avoid them. While it's not always true, they could be the wrong kind of person to associate with.
Deleting Your Online Identity
- 10 Tips on Deleting Your Identity from the Internet
If you want to delete your online identity, follow the tips in this article.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 David Livermore
justmesuzanne from Texas on January 08, 2014:
Really nice, thorough information. I think this is also important for people who have professional websites and social media pages in their own names and with their own identity. They should also set up private pages for personal communication and/or set up an online persona to express aspects of their interests and personality that don't necessarily fit in with their professional image. This helps protect the person's professional image and business or cause.
Voted up and interesting! :)